Monday, 29 October 2012

Josh Rouse: Late Night Conversations (October Edition)

Last night, I watched the fourth instalment of Josh Rouse's Late Night Conversations concert series, hosted by Stageit.  This edition has been my favourite of the series to date.  Not only was the setlist comprised almost entirely of early to mid Rouse material and rarities (aside from two brand new tracks), but a lot of my personal favourites were played, which I find pretty cool in a set list spanning a 30 minute show.  Not only that, but Josh finally played my song request of 'Sad Eyes'!  But more on that later...

Josh opened the set with 'Late Night Conversation' and 'Michigan', followed by 'The Whole Night Through'.  I felt this trio of songs were a perfect start to the show, appropriately setting the autumn theme for what is the October edition of this concert series.  Josh played harmonica throughout 'Late Night Conversation' which was a lovely touch.  I was especially thrilled to hear 'The Whole Night Through' - it's one of my favourites off Under Cold Blue Stars and a rarity to hear live. Throughout the show, Josh debuted two new songs - 'Good To Have You' and 'Julie, Come Out Of The Rain' - the latter of which I thought had a lovely melody and some interesting, atmospheric lyrics.  I hope this one appears on the new album, The Happiness Waltz.

For the remainder of the show, Josh took requests from fans via the live chat window, and after I requested 'Sad Eyes' a few times (ok, a lot of times) he played it, saying something along the lines of "Someone keeps requesting 'Sad Eyes'". Anyway, the wait was totally worth it and this was my favourite song of the evening.  Apart from the live music obviously, the live chat window is a big part of what makes the whole Stageit experience so enjoyable.  it's so much fun requesting songs and seeing what songs others want to hear, as well as interacting with Josh and the other fans throughout the duration of the concert.

'Late Night Conversation'
'The Whole Night Through'
'Good To Have You'
'Sad Eyes'
'Sunshine (Come On Lady)'
'Comeback (Light Therapy)'
'Julie, Come Out Of The Rain'

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Everything Everything - iTunes Festival: London 2010 - EP

I've been listening to this album a lot recently.  I was unaware of its existence until last month when I stumbled upon it whilst browsing iTunes.  As a big fan of Everything Everything, I knew this EP - featuring nine of the original eleven tracks from their debut Man Alive, played live at London's Roundhouse - was a must-have download.

The best way to describe this EP would be to say that it's a 'louder' version of Man Alive.  If that's possible.  Crazy hooks, clashing synths, falsetto vocals and totally random lyrics - pretty much all of the qualities that made Man Alive such a uniquely addictive debut - are all present here, just on an enhanced level.  From listening to the EP, it's clear that the band make for a great live act and though all the instrumentation is tight, the backing vocals are particularly impressive.

I think the most noteworthy track here is 'NASA Is On Your Side'.  Jonathan Higg's lead vocals work beautifully against the bass and keys.  Overall, the live instrumentation gives the song an intensity which is perhaps lacking on the studio version that appears on Man Alive.  'Photoshop Handsome' is another standout track, largely due to the fantastic middle 8 breakdown featuring multiple chants and call-and- response between the lead and backing vocals.  A stampeding instrumental of guitar and drums makes for a perfect climax leading into the final chorus.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Track of the Day: The Rising Tide - The Killers

If there is one song on The Killers' latest album Battle Born that indicates a return to their former sounds pre-Day & Age, then 'The Rising Tide' is surely it.  Opening with an impressive 40 second electro infused intro that wouldn't sound out of place on debut Hot Fuss, the track then evolves into a surge of rocking guitars, powerful vocals and atmospheric lyrics, reminiscent of the Springsteen influence that was ever so present on 2006's Sam's Town.  'The Rising Tide' has all the qualities of a future single, and is one of the standout tracks on what is admittedly a grower of an album.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Josh Rouse: Late Night Conversations (September Edition)

Last night, Josh Rouse delivered the third instalment of his Late Night Conversations concert series, hosted by Stageit.  Unlike the last two shows in which he was joined by Caio Bellveser on piano and bass, this September edition saw Josh perform the entire set solo.  However, much to the delight of fans watching, the format of the concert remained the same, with Josh playing a varied setlist comprised of new material, tracks from previous albums, song requests and rarities - all played live from his home in Valencia, Spain.

Josh opened the set with two new songs - 'Western Isle' and 'City People, City Things'.  Both tracks sounded good, but I particularly liked 'Western Isle'.  Though it's always difficult to give an opinion on new songs, not just because this is the first time I've heard them, but if these tracks do feature on the new album, they are bound to sound different if played with fuller instrumentation, compared to just an acoustic guitar - as in the instance of this concert.

For the remainder of the show, Josh took requests and played songs from his extensive back catalogue.  It was great to hear a selection of tracks from earlier albums and the likes of 'Feeling No Pain' and 'Under Cold Blue Stars' (from the album of the same name) were a welcome surprise and my favourite songs of the evening.  'Hey Porcupine' from Home was also a lovely addition to the setlist, and a fine example of Josh's earlier work.

In between songs, Josh discussed his upcoming album - The Happiness Waltz - 
explaining that he was currently finishing it at home and working on the artwork.
He said that he was going to Nashville soon to mix the album with Brad Jones and that the record was scheduled for release on March 19 next year.  What's just as exciting is that Josh also mentioned that he is hoping to tour soon.  This is great news for fans, but in the meantime I look forward to the next instalment of this brilliant online concert series, which is taking place on October 28.

'Western Isle'
'City People, City Things'
'Cotton Eye Joe'
'Under Cold Blue Stars'
'Lemon Tree'
'Quiet Town'
'Hey Porcupine'
'Feeling No Pain'